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Reject street demonstrations, says student group

 | September 21, 2012

A pro-establishment camp expects a comfortable victory in the upcoming campus election.

SHAH ALAM: Fifteen public universities out of the 20 will go to the polls next Tuesday to elect new students’ council members – and the race is heating up.

The campus battle is being fought by two student groups – one representing the establishment and the other against. The former is known as Pro-Aspirasi and the latter called itself Pro-Mahasiswa.

Five of the campuses have already held their elections, with candidates from the pro-establishment camp said to have captured most of the seats contested in Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) and Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (Utem).

Meanwhile, Pro-Aspirasi today ticked off Pro-Mahasiswa for resorting to street demonstrations to make their demands, saying such actions would only tarnish the students’ image.

“We prefer to invite our friends to the classrooms rather than call them out to the streets,” Pro-Aspirasi spokesperson Hafiz Ariffin said at press conference here to unveil its “election manifesto”.

He urged the students to back the group’s “intellectual leadership” and reject the “culture of demonstration” (as practised by its rival).

“When we return to our villages, our parents will ask how good our results are and not how far we have walked on the streets,” he said against a background of photographs of street protests.

“That’s why we want students to be rational and diplomatic in their demands,” he added.

A former USM Pro-Aspirasi group leader, Mohamad Idzuan Jamaluddin, weighed in, saying Pro-Mahasiswa does not represent the majority of the students.

“They are actually a small group. The majority of the students reject its agenda,” he said.

The manifesto outlines Pro-Aspirasi’s commitment to academic excellence, student welfare, and character building, among others.

Pro-Aspirasi said the manifesto was “realistically drafted”.

Hafiz said he is confident the outcome of the election will be favourable to Pro-Aspirasi candidates in all the 15 universities.

“If you are good, people will definitely vote for you. But if you are bad, like those in the [protest] pictures, I don’t think people will vote for you,” he said.

Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya Pro-Aspirasi leader Marwan Kahar Baharuddin said he is not afraid of the challenge posed by popular Pro-Mahasiswa leader Safwan Anang, who was behind the movement to abolish the student loan scheme (PTPTN).

“Our chances of winning are quite high. I am quite comfortable,” he said.


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